Ditching the Tech...


By Gloria West

Do You Race? Analytically or Intuitively

The traditional approach to triathlon training and event performance is to use a number of devices, whether it is our GPS heart rate monitor, watts, zone levels or bike power counts. 

During competition, racing thoughts, critical thoughts or too many thoughts can be too much of a distraction that actually slows us down.

Many athletes don’t recognize the valuable resource already within them. It never occurs to them there is also another option. They can tap into a different approach. Whether you call it an inner sense, gut feeling, hunch or intuition, it does not matter. Have you ever tried just going with your intuition or those gut feelings?

Hearing from one of our Chisago Lakes Triathlon participants, Ryan Richardson, made me reminisce how I used to approach the Ironman and marathons. I didn’t use these external devices as my “inner critic” would get loud if I wasn’t meeting a certain “number” on my Garmin. In fact, one of my best performances was at the 1988 Grandmas Marathon when I didn’t use a watch (that’s about all we had back then) nor did I look up at any mile markers....

“Looking inside” was just exactly what Ryan did at the 2019 Chisago Lakes Triathlon. He had completed (8) 70.3 races before the 2019 Chisago race and up to then his best time at the distance was just under 5 hours. Ryan explains, “On the day of my race, my coach suggested I go out and race solely by feel. I rode the line of holding paces that were ‘comfortably uncomfortable’ and ditched the technology. I decided to simply race by "feel" all day and ride the line on what paces I could hold. This really helped me tune in to how I was feeling and constantly question.........can I go just a little harder and maintain it? I also told myself to not look at my Garmin watch until I was 1 mile from the finish line. I felt like I had put a solid race together and checked my watch. To my disbelief, I was going to break the 5hr mark by almost 20 minutes; 4:40:38! I was ecstatic ending up 2nd in the 40-44 AG. “

Sometimes, during an event we just think and analyze too much. Letting go “of all of the external feedback” could be worth exploring.